GOP Sen calls for a criminal investigation into the judge in the trial against Trump over silence orders

Senator JD Vance is demanding a criminal investigation into New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan for his enforcement of silence orders against former President Trump during his trial.

The Ohio Republican, a strong supporter of the former president, called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to open an investigation into Merchan, specifically for depriving Trump of his First Amendment right to free speech.

“The public evidence suggests that at the very least an investigation is warranted. And everything indicates that the responsible parties have their sights set not only on the rights protected by the Constitution, but also on those rights holders of great federal importance, including the leading candidate for the presidency. ,” Vance wrote in a letter to Garland.

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Former President Donald Trump and then-Republican Senate candidate JD Vance greet supporters during the rally at Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio. ((Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images))

He cites two statutes to prosecute Merchan, one that “prevents conspiracies to 'injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate' others in the enjoyment of federally protected rights” and another that prohibits anyone from “intentionally [depriving] a person having a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

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Judge Juan Merchan instructs the jury before deliberations

Judge Juan Merchan instructs the jury before deliberations as Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump looks on during his criminal trial on allegations that he falsified company records to hide money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, at the Manhattan state court in New York City on May 29, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

“On Merchan's orders, a Republican presidential candidate has been rendered powerless to question the credibility of the witnesses testifying against him, the motivations of the prosecutors who pursued him, or the impartiality of the ostensibly conflicted judge fining him. pulling,” Vance claimed.

The Justice Department did not provide Fox News Digital with comment in time for publication.

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Garland speaks at a vigil honoring fallen law enforcement officers

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during the 36th annual candlelight vigil honoring law enforcement officers killed in 2023, in Washington, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Vance even suggested that Merchan has deprived Trump of more than just his First Amendment rights. He claimed the judge had tried to prevent the former president from getting an impartial jury. “During jury selection, Merchan refused to dismiss potential jurors with apparent bias,” he wrote.

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Former US President Donald Trump at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York

Former President Donald Trump sits in court before jury deliberations for his criminal trial in the Manhattan Criminal Court of the New York State Supreme Court on May 29, 2024. (Jabin Botsford/Pool via USA Today Network)

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Fox News Digital contacted the New York court with a request from Merchan's office but did not immediately receive a response.

Republicans and Trump have been critical of the prosecution, indictment and presiding judge's case against the former president, often calling it “election interference.”

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